There Will Always Be a Protest
Day 179 of A Year of War and Peace
Natasha suffers from what contemporary doctors of psychology call being a hot mess. That’s Latin, of course, for “the girl’s head isn’t on right.” She does not eat. She does not sleep. She’s pale, ravaged by a persistent cough, and her spirits are lower than a Mets fan in October. Her family doesn’t know what to do about her.
Her mother, sick as she is, decides that her daughter is in worse shape than she is so she picks up and heads for Moscow. Once there, seeing the state her daughter is in, the family decides to move into their Moscow home and live there for the summer rather than at the country estate as they usually do.
Once settled in they enlist the best doctors who immediately set to work providing the worst possible care. Their prescriptions are iatrogenic and their prognoses rival the insight the anti-vaccination set gleans from a late night Google search. Invested as they are with the dignity of the title doctor, however, the Rostov’s happily defer to their instruction.
Tolstoy, however, makes it perfectly clear that Natasha suffers from an ailment of the heart. And as the heart is merely the puppet of the mind, no improvement of Natasha’s condition can occur until her mind is set at ease.
For just as a bodily sore hurts under the slightest touch, afterwards even at the suggestion of a touch, so the disordered mind takes offence at the merest trifles, so that even, in the case of some people, a greeting, a letter, a speech, or a question provokes dispute. There will always be a protest if you touch a sore spot.
Seneca, On Anger III